Many of our clients will end up relocating in retirement. Some of them will move locally and others will leave the state.
There are many important factors to consider before making a move.
Below are do’s and don’ts to help you decide what’s best for you:
What to Consider:
- Location (location, location). Proximity to family and friends is critical as you age and need more help with day-to-day activities. If you can’t or don’t want to live near family, at least choose a home near a major airport. That way, if family members do need to visit, they will be able to get to you—and back home—easily.
- Proximity to good medical care. Also, a short drive or walk to a supermarket is one of the top things retirees say is important to them. A great website to determine the walkability of your potential neighborhood is www.walkscore.com. Getting “away from it all” may sound great, but it isn’t always the best idea, especially as we get older.
- Resale value. You never know when something is going to happen that will make you need to move again. Sometimes the death of a spouse or significant other triggers the move. Sometimes it is health issues. Sometimes it is the needs of other family members. But it happens more frequently than you may think. Make an unexpected move easier on yourself by choosing initial retirement housing that will sell quickly.
- Established neighborhood versus new neighborhood. Stay away from new construction in a community where the builder will be building for several more years. That way when it is time to sell, you’ll only be competing with other sellers, and not the builder, too. Buy existing construction that meets your needs whenever possible. Your best resource is always a good local realtor. If you’re moving out of the area, try to get a referral from your local realtor to a realtor in your new location.
- Renting. If relocating out of the area, the best approach is to “test-drive” the new neighborhood. Try renting for at least one year before you make a decision on buying. A significant percentage of retirees end up relocating shortly after making the move to their “dream location.”
What to Avoid:
- Don’t buy the most expensive home in the most expensive neighborhood. Also avoid doing so many upgrades to the home that you will never get your money back. Making your home much more lavish than the other homes in your neighborhood really limits the potential number of buyers for your property should you need to sell quickly.
- Don’t buy more house than you need. For most retirees, only one or two people will be living in their homes. Yet many retirees buy homes equal to or greater in size than the homes they had while their children were young.
- Don’t make a decision solely based on tax reasons. More square footage equals higher maintenance costs and higher taxes. Downsizing usually makes a lot of sense, even when you relocate to a less expensive area.
- Don’t do it all by yourself unless you want to! For help with downsizing, consider consulting with a Senior Move Manager. Visit www.nasmm.org for help in locating someone in your area.